How to use VNC Viewer and Server

Remote desktop software is an easy way to access programs and resources on a remote PC as if you were actually working on it. It allows for free screen sharing, making the experience seamless.

We've put together this quick guide for you. It explains how to connect to another computer running VNC Server, using VNC Viewer to do it. You will also find out more about the ways to connect, as well as securing your account. We'll even discuss how to use VNC Server for Raspberry Pi.

VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is a cross-platform screen sharing system that was created to remotely control another computer. This means that a computer’s screen, keyboard, and mouse can be used from a distance by a remote user from a secondary device as though they were sitting right in front of it.

In 2016, RealVNC launched its latest VNC-based remote access product: VNC Connect. This software combines the convenience of a cloud service with the flexibility of offline connectivity (also known as direct) and provides an optimized strategy for every size of business.  

Since its initial release, the product has continued to evolve, with features such as high-speed streaming and remote audio being added to the mix, along with continual tweaks to further refine the product to meet the needs of our customers.  

VNC Connect’s key features include intuitive remote control, cross-platform support, attended and unattended access, file transfer, multilingual support, online team management and virtual desktop management under Linux. Its sessions are encrypted end-to-end using up to 256-bit AES encryption providing multi-factor authentication, single-sign-on (SSO), granular access control and rich session permissions. 

But let's start with the beginning and discuss all these topics one at a time.

How to set up a team in VNC Connect

After you've created your free RealVNC account, next on the list will be to download VNC Viewer. However, another thing would be advisable before you remote control a computer. This will make managing computers and user permissions much easier. You can manage them in a much simpler fashion if you set up a team in VNC Connect.

Setting up teams will make it much easier to control who has access to each remote computer. It will also improve security in the process.

How to configure VNC Connect for maximum security

While we're on the topic of security, you will want to secure your RealVNC account as much as possible. It would be ideal to do this before you start making the most out of your VNC Connect subscription.

Here are the main points when configuring VNC Connect for comprehensive security:

·       How to turn on multi-factor authentication

·       How to blank your screen

·       How to authorize your device

Let's take these one at a time. First, MFA - multi-factor authentication will make sure no unauthorized access happens. You will need a code from an app on your phone, apart from your password. Unless you meet the two conditions, no remote access will happen.

Blanking your screen is pretty self-explanatory. Enable it and nobody will see anything on the screen of the machine running VNC Server. Of course, only while it's controlled.

When it comes to authorizing your device, this is an out-of-the-box security measure. If a new device connects to your account, you get an email to your registered address. That way, nothing happens without your knowledge.

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How to set up a Direct (or offline) Connection

You will definitely want to know how to set up a Direct Connection (also known as "offline") if you use VNC Connect in a secured environment. With this method, connections are not brokered through the cloud. This means that everything happens solely on your own network.

VNC Connect does offer 256-bit encryption for Enterprise subscriptions. However, Direct Connections give you more peace of mind if your environment requires an additional layer of security.

It does also mean that you'll need to have information such as IP addresses and port numbers. You might also arm yourself with access to your router or firewall.

How to set up an Instant Support session

In an IT support environment, Instant Support makes the most sense.

Once you've set up Instant Support, you won't need VNC Server on the machine you want to connect to. Your user will visit a webpage and download a little piece of software. They will then input a code that you generate, give their consent and you're connected.

The best part is that the user doesn't need to install or license any software. So there is no footprint of an installer; it's just a small, disposable app, which can be deleted when the session ends. Deletion of the app will leave no traces whatsoever on the system, so there are no potentially dangerous circumstances for the user. 

No configuration is required, as the cloud service does that for you. It all happens with end-to-end encryption and across platforms. 

However, this is not a feature that any VNC Connect user would need. Therefore, your company's subscription needs a Technician license added to it. You can find out all about licensing here.

How to print a file to a local printer using remote access

Remote printing is one of the most convenient features of VNC software. Can you imagine something as annoying as needing to transfer every file you need to print? If there are a lot of files involved, that's what you'll be doing with your afternoon.

Luckily, the ability to print a file from a remote machine on a local printer is available on VNC Connect out of the box.

How to transfer a file remotely

Working on a remote computer will sometimes mean that you will need to quickly transfer a file. For example, you will need to transfer a file if you only have a piece of software for it on the other machine.

As long as you are running VNC Viewer and you connect to a VNC Server on the other machine, this is a very easy task. The ability to transfer a file remotely can be set up and used in a few minutes and a couple of clicks.

How to set up VNC Connect on Raspberry Pi

Many users wonder how to use VNC Connect on Raspberry Pi. With good reason; the little piece of hardware is gaining more popularity every day. If you have a Raspberry Pi, you should know that it comes with VNC Viewer and VNC Server preinstalled.

You follow a simple set of steps to enable it and you'll connect to your Raspberry Pi in no time. You can also use VNC Viewer on it to connect to other machines.

The good news is that a partnership between RealVNC and Raspberry Pi exists. This grants you some special privileges on your Home license. Namely, you have access to both cloud and direct connections.

How to use VNC to remote control a PC from a smartphone

VNC Viewer for Android is a great way to control a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, straight from your iPhone or Android smartphone. The best part is that the Android VNC app couldn't be easier to set up. And so is downloading VNC Viewer from the iOS App Store and using it to control your remote machine. 

More information on how to use VNC on Android can be found here. You can also find out how to control your PC from your iPhone here

Want to try VNC Connect for yourself? We offer a free trial!

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